May 1, 2020 
 




Thinking  BIG
Frustrated by Sanitizer Shortage, Texas Pharmacist Hatches a Big-Time Solution
Brad Martin, Pharm D, owner of Kinsey's Pharmacy in Tyler, TX.

Frustrated by his inability to find enough hand sanitizer products for his pharmacy and his patients, American Pharmacies member Brad Martin knew what he had to do.  He launched a large-scale production operation that is not only taking care of his customers in Tyler, Texas, but is helping out people as far away as New York.

"I knew I needed to do my part to keep everyone safe and help as many people as I could," said Martin, pharmacist and owner of Kinsey's Pharmacy in Tyler.

Like many compounding pharmacists, Martin initially produced the sanitizer in-house under a standing order provided by a local physician. When the FDA addressed the shortage of alcohol-based sanitizers by giving compounding pharmacies permission to produce it, Martin shifted into high gear and partnered with Kiepersol, a local winery and spirits producer, to make an ethanol-based sanitizer. Once word got out, orders began pouring in from surrounding businesses, including the U.S. Marshals' office, the local fire department, and home health agencies.  Former Texas State Senator and Harrison County Judge Richard Anderson also reached out to Martin to acquire sanitizer for first responders in nearby Marhall through his foundation. Demand quickly outpaced their production capacity.

"Working with Judge Anderson, we knew we had to figure out a way to produce larger quantities to meet the growing needs of the community," he said. "We had to think of a ground-up solution to this global problem because we had a hard time receiving assistance from the outside."

When the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) opened up production of hand sanitizer to distilled spirits plants, Martin did what many Texans do - he thought big.

Workers at Lone Star Super Gas in Kilgore fills 55-gallon drums with ethyl alcohol from a 7,500-gallon tanker (R).
"I reached out to Lone Star Super Gas in Kilgore, Texas because I knew they had a facility licensed by Homeland Security to process large amounts of ethanol," said Martin. "That connection led me to a company in Seattle that sells specially denatured alcohol specifically for use in hand sanitizer and disinfectant. We acquired our Industrial Alcohol Use Permit from TTB and a temporary FDA Manufacturer Permit. Shortly after, I had a tanker carrying 7,500 gallons of alcohol on its way from California to Texas."



Once he secured the key ingredient, it was full-steam ahead with the next phase of the project - securing partnerships with local Texas businesses to begin the production process.

"To me, this is about Texans helping Texans and small businesses banding together to help each other and their communities," he said. "We hope to do a lot of good."

Left, each batch of sanitizer is tested to verify its ethyl alcohol content. Right, bottled quarts and gallons on a storage shelf at the pharmacy.
TahWahKaro Distilling Company in Grapevine, Texas supplies distilled water, Tyler Corrugated Box supplies shipping boxes, and The Chamberlain Foundation provides financial support and legal guidance to ensure the pharmacy stays compliant with state licensing and regulations. 

The first week, Martin produced 8,400 gallons of hand sanitizer. But, the most exciting outcome of all, Martin said, is the support he has received from his neighbors and the opportunity to showcase the high-level of service and commitment that can be found only in an independent pharmacy.

"People that have never heard of our pharmacy are coming here because we are the only place in Tyler with hand sanitizer," Martin says. "Cars have wrapped around our building and into the street like a fast food drive-through. It's amazing the response we are getting from the people of Tyler and how appreciative they are that we are here to meet this need. It shows the value of having an independent pharmacy in the community."

Kinsey's Pharmacy was founded in 1979 by former APRx board member and President Robert Kinsey, RPh. Martin joined Kinsey's in 2012 and learned the art of compounding and the inner workings of an independent pharmacy. In 2015, he and his wife, Amy, (also a pharmacist) purchased the business and remain committed to continuing the exceptional customer service that was the hallmark of Kinsey's operation.

Giving back to the local community is a huge driving force for Martin and his team. A portion of the proceeds from hand sanitizer sales go to the East Texas Crisis Center, which provides services to victims of family violence, dating violence and sexual assault in five Texas counties.

Martin serves on its board of directors and has donated masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to staff and various products for the center's children, including Tylenol, thermometers, vitamins, books, toys and snacks.


"Since COVID-19, there has been a lot of domestic violence and substance abuse happening," he said. "At the same time, a lot of people have lost jobs, so the demand for the center's services are up, but donations are way down."

Martin also partnered with the Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee to make certain first responders and hospitals in his area have the sanitation capabilities they need. His product, which contains 80% ethyl alcohol, distilled water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin, is not thick and viscous like gel sanitizers and can easily be used in pump sprayers.


"What's being lost in the shuffle with all of the focus on gloves and masks is the need to be able to disinfect equipment between patients," Martin said. "The need for this product goes beyond sanitizing hands. The equipment in emergency vehicles is sensitive to harsh chemicals, so they can only use alcohol-based sanitizers as a disinfectant solution."

Communities in other states also benefit from his Lone Star initiative. Nearly 100 gallons are transported weekly to hard-hit areas in New York state, says Martin.

"I wish I could be there when they open up those boxes and see that big Texas flag on those labels," he said.

Martin is committed to helping his fellow independent pharmacists keep their doors open and their communities safe, so Kinsey's Pharmacy has generously agreed to provide hand sanitizer to all APRx members at the wholesale manufacturer price to keep the cost low and to discourage price gouging.

"There's a huge need, and we will see the need growing exponentially as we begin to open the economy back up," said Martin. "Whatever the cost of the hand sanitizer, it's more than worth it if it draws new business into your store and gets your pharmacy recognized in your community."


The product is sold by the quart, gallon or in a 55-gallon drum, which comes with a siphon pump and a 2.5-gallon jerrycan. Martin can provide FDA-required labels, plastic containers and intrastate transport connections upon request. Because the product is highly flammable and classified as hazardous to mail, there are practical constraints on sending small quantities.

For pricing information, please log into Generic Edge and click on the link labeled Member Pricing on Sanitizer from Kinsey's Pharmacy at the top of the page.

"The good will we are generating is worth more than the dollar amount we are going to bring in from the sales," said Martin. "It's a unique opportunity to show our communities the importance of small businesses. When small businesses come together, we can accomplish amazing things to meet the needs of the communities that support us."

If you are interested in purchasing hand sanitizer from Kinsey's Pharmacy, send an email to contact@kinseyspharmacy.com. 

Quality Sanitizer Products Available From Other Sources

Two trusted companies that American Pharmacies deals with also have reliable, high-quality sanitizer products available at very reasonable prices.

Stride-Lite, our preferred vendor for diabetic footwear, distributes the pure © line of hard surface sanitizing products that kill most bacteria and viruses in two minutes or less and leave residual protection for up to 24 hours. The product disinfects with the EPA-approved silver dihydrogen citrate, which is odorless, non-toxic and safe for all surfaces. To order, use the order form below and Fax or email it to Stride-Lite as instructed. 


Lazarus Naturals, a highly regarded seller of quality CBD products, has diverted some of the ethyl alcohol it uses in hemp processing to produce hand sanitizer that it us selling at its production cost. The 80% ethanol sanitizer is available in 3.4-oz. spray bottles that are sold by case of 24. A one-gallon refill size also is available. To order or inquire about Lazuraus Naturals sanitizer, please contact Jaime Sterne:   jsterne@lazarusnaturals.com.